As a result of the UK government’s 14 June announcement to extend the date for the easing of lockdown restrictions and social distancing measures, the UK Home Office has announced that the temporary COVID-19 adjusted right-to-work checks will now end on 31 August 2021, as opposed to 20 June 2021.
From 1 September 2021, employers will be required to revert to face-to-face and physical document checks as set out in the legislation and guidance and further detailed below. This is a welcome change for many businesses whose offices remain closed, and will ensure employers have sufficient notice to put measures in place to enable face-to-face document checks.
Additionally, the Home Office has updated employer guidance for right-to-work checks for the end of the grace period on 30 June 2021. There are a number of changes, including a list of acceptable documents to conduct right-to-work checks from 1 July 2021. From this date, employees of European Economic Area (EEA) or Swiss nationals will no longer be able to rely on passports and national identity cards to demonstrate their right to work. Instead, evidence of status and pending applications under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) will need to be provided. For Irish nationals, passports remain sufficient evidence of the right to work.
Guidance has also been provided regarding late applications to the EUSS after 30 June 2021. Until 31 December 2021, in circumstances where an employer identifies that an EEA citizen in their workforce has not applied to the EUSS by 30 June 2021, they do not need to cease employment at the time they identify an employee without status. Instead, the employer should direct the EEA national to file an application within 28 days. The employer should then obtain a certificate of application and contact the Employer Checking Service to obtain a positive verification notice, confirming that the individual has applied.
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If you have any questions or would like more information on the guidance discussed in this alert, please contact any of the following Morgan Lewis lawyers:
Shannon A. Donnelly